Friday, July 03, 2009
6897: Classic Bullshit From Coke…?
An anonymous comment left at the post on Coca-Cola Assistant VP of African-American Marketing Yolanda White inspired this follow-up perspective. The comment included declaring, “Ms. White is Black and even she is culturally clueless.”
It’s not fair to presume Ms. White is culturally clueless, and it’s quite probable that she isn’t. MultiCultClassics’ original remarks were never intended to question Ms. White’s cultural credentials.
At the same time, Ms. White did make a lot of bizarre statements. She said, “Three years ago, we began to see new evidence of growing population, growing buying and growing power in income. We also saw significant [interest] in emerging categories, which made this consumer segment that much more viable for us as a company. So we really began to rebuild our strategic focus and realign our organizational capabilities to go after this consumer more holistically.”
For how many fucking decades must research be presented to prove the Black consumer market has money and is a viable audience? Surely Ms. White isn’t implying the segment mysteriously vanished for a few years, suddenly becoming poor and unworthy of Coke’s interest.
Additionally, every “insight” Ms. White presented on Black consumers was originally delivered to Coke by advertising agencies like Burrell and FUSE—as long ago as the 1970s.
The revelation that “a plethora of other agencies” handles Black-targeted assignments is particularly disturbing.
First, it continues the corporate crimes of allowing White agencies to win minority billings while non-White agencies are never permitted to even pitch for mass market spoils.
Second, it contributes to the perpetuation of exclusivity and discrimination in the industry. The White agencies admit they are doing a lousy job of embracing diversity. As previously mentioned, the head of Coke’s lead agency—Dan Wieden of Wieden + Kennedy—proclaimed things are “fucked up.” The Coca-Cola Company officially brags about its commitment to supplier diversity. Yet it awards work to agencies that appear adverse to diversity, while its minority shops must beg for scraps. This deliberate bullshit is driving minority shops out of business, further compounding the global problem.
MultiCultClassics hopes Ms. White’s answers were rooted in supporting and promoting the Black consumer market—as well as representing her bosses. Again, it’s not fair to call the woman culturally clueless. But if Ms. White really believes her own words, one has to wonder if she’s just plain clueless.